I’ve been good with my budget these past few moths. I haven’t bought anything that wasn’t planned. I’ve been socking money away in savings accounts and paying extra on the mortgage. It makes me feel empowered to do this, when I become uber cheap and try not to spend money on anything extra at all. It’s almost like a game I play with myself.
I’ve told the kids no when I’ve wanted to say yes, and made dinner at home when I’ve wanted nothing more then to throw down $70 for dinner with my kids and then go see a movie.
Spring clothes have been out for months and I’ve resisted the urge to buy anything, telling myself I don’t need anything new, because I don’t.
And then a wave comes over me and I give no fucks. I walk into Target as if I have a squad behind me, death metal playing in the background and a camera crew filming us in slow motion. Only there’s no music and no squad. It’s almost as if I’m possessed and lose all sense of time, distance, and being a responsible adult. I clutch my hands around the cart, and suddenly my checkbook balance doesn’t exist.
The only thing I’m sure of is this mama is going to spend some cash.
Before I know it, my cart is overflowing with face creams and tanks tops because they are 2 for $10 and if I don’t stock up now I am going to be so damn sorry I didn’t grab one in every color. While I’m grabbing things in such a careless manner, I decide to redecorate my bathroom with new towels, bathmats, and toothbrush holders. Once I grab the expensive trail mix, I know I’m a goner.
I break down and buy that $30 pillow because my dollar bills are flying all over the place, why not really make it count?
Hello, my name is Katie and I’m a binge-shopper.
I’m not talking about wasting the kids’ college accounts on cars, or not having enough money for food because I lost control in a shoe store. But I do admit to going on spending benders regularly. Sometimes I’m with a friend, but usually I’m alone.
I sometimes wonder what triggers my binge-shopping tendencies. Is it stress? Is it because I feel deprived after being so good for a few months, kind of like when you do a cleanse and you fantasize about simple carbs the whole time and before you know it you’ve grabbed a bag of chips and crushed them over a gallon of ice cream and wondered what the hell happened because who eats chips crunched up in ice cream? (Raises hand.)
Perhaps it’s because I’m sick of being a responsible adult who always lives by a damn spreadsheet, and spending a few Benjamins irresponsibly makes me feel free and alive and reminds me no one is the boss of me and I can do what I want.
I try to rationalize my spending, telling myself that since I’m going on a bender, I might as well make it count, so let’s just buy all the things. After all, I haven’t given in to my urges for the past six months.
Yes, I know this doesn’t make sense.
Yes, I do it anyway.
But I have to admit something: it’s also fun as hell. Well, for the most part. Of course, there are times when binge-shopping is laced with guilt, remorse, and maybe even a mental take down about why I don’t need anything new, my kids have enough, and no one should be allowed to buy that many packages of Double-Stuf Oreos just so they can have a fancy display in an oversized glass container on the kitchen island.
Maybe I’m making excuses for myself — okay, that’s exactly what I’m doing — but I like to reward myself sometimes for being so responsible with my finances most of the time. And if that means I let myself feel like a free bird every now and again and go a little rogue on Amazon, down the aisles in Target or Costco — so be it. It’s the way I operate, and it’s the way many of my fellow mom friends operate.
And then we reel it in and all is well again.
Perhaps someday I’ll learn moderation in my spending habits, but until then, I’ll be over here being cheap as fuck until I wake up one morning and have the urge to act like I’ve won the lottery and start this viscous cycle all over again.